Oct 23, 2010

Allegedly

They knew each other. They didn’t.

There was a bet, or a robbery, a dis or a partnership or maybe money owed. Someone said a drug deal.

Allegedly.

He lied. He didn’t lie. Part of it was and part wasn’t. Was it self-serving? He told the truth, allegedly.

One of the main difficulties covering crime for a paper is the deep ambiguity that can afflict a narrative. Sometimes a story goes in one direction with one narrative for weeks — the break-in and homicide was a robbery, out of hand — and then that explanation is just dropped, abandoned, and another narrative is given. By the time the case gets to the courthouse there are usually two competing versions of events, but before that, in the first days of the investigation and in the process of questioning and interrogating, there are often multitudes. There are layers of lies, layers of truths. There are justifications and explanations, prevarications and machinations and which is which? And what do you believe?

When it finally comes down to two stories, one for the prosecution, one for the defense, I am sitting in the courthouse pews, taking notes and doodles and thinking of other possible explanations. Other versions of motivations. Other narratives. Thinking of ambiguities.

Read the rest of the essay, There is more than one version of this, @ catapult magazine.